Who is Sri Lanka’s new prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, taking charge in the midst of its worst economic crisis?

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While former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa remains at an undisclosed location as anti-government protests simmer on the island, the country is poised for a new prime minister.

The crisis-hit country will now welcome Ranil Wickremesinghe as the new Prime Minister. The head of the United National Party (UNP) takes office two days after former Prime Minister Rajapaksa resigns from office.

The ongoing protests have pushed Sri Lanka into its worst economic crisis yet. The country is going through a lot, from hours-long blackouts to insurmountable food shortages.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has not said a word about vacating his post. He announced that he will name a new Prime Minister and a new cabinet within a week to lead the country forward.

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He further said: “A constitutional amendment will be promoted to enact the content of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which will give more powers to parliament. The prime minister of the new government will have the opportunity to produce a new program and move this country forward.”

Let us tell you more about Wickremesinghe who is the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

  • Wickremesinghe has served as Prime Minister four times in the past. He was first appointed Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena in 2015. At the time, Sirisena had defeated Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election.
  • The deteriorating economic state of Sri Lanka during that time led then-President Sirisena to sack Wickremesinghe in October 2018. After that, Mahinda Rajapaksa was appointed Prime Minister. This decision was challenged by Wickremesinghe and ended up creating a constitutional crisis. Thereafter, Wickremesinghe was reinstated as Prime Minister in December 2018.
  • The 2019 Easter Sunday bombings had severely shaken the country and voters were once again divided. So, they re-elected the Rajapaksas and Wickremesinghe had to resign as Prime Minister in November 2019.
  • Despite many comings and goings, Wickremesinghe is again Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, albeit as a temporary measure for a maximum of six months.
  • Wickremesinghe is reportedly seen as someone who can attract international cooperation and help Sri Lanka through the current economic chaos.
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